van Draanen J, Jeyaratnam J, O’Campo P, Hwang S, Harriott D, Koo M, Stergiopoulos V. Meaningful inclusion of consumers in research and service delivery. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal 2013; 36 (3): 180-6.
Issue: People who use mental health and homelessness services are generally excluded from related service planning and research project design.
What we did: At Home/Chez Soi was a national research project exploring the effectiveness of Housing First programs* for people facing both homelessness and mental illness. The Toronto site of At Home created a People with Lived Experience Caucus as a project advisory body to guide the work of the management team, as well as the service and research teams. We worked with Caucus members to review related documents and interview Caucus members, service providers, and researchers about their experiences working with/in the Caucus.
Our study and experiences generated lessons around the Caucus model, including the need to:
The study also identified strengths of the Toronto At Home Caucus, which included:
* Housing First is a program approach that offers people facing both homelessness and mental health problems access to stable housing and supports. While treatment is offered, housing does not come with conditions around treatment or substance use.